The Lock's Not the Key | Letters | Chicago Reader

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The Lock's Not the Key


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Dear Ms. Krone,

If I'm going to consume the lengthy time to read what appears to be a very interesting multipage article ["Why Did Pieter Die?" March 19], I certainly don't wish to feel it's an unnecessary cliff-hanger which makes the article INCOMPLETE.

Your article ended by saying the jury dismissed the case of Pieter's death as "cause not known."

1. Your reporting was precise to include on page 18 that the master key would NOT open the lock of Pieter's dorm door because the LOCK WAS JAMMED. Omitted was where it was jammed (at the hall entrance or the inside entrance).

2. WHERE, WHERE, WHERE in your reporting is any mention of HOW the jury evidently considered the fact of a jammed lock in determining his death??? Obviously if the lock was jammed from the hall side, it might be considered that some person did it on purpose. And if jammed from the inside, it might be considered that Pieter did it. It's a coincidence that this lock should have been jammed, and at this particular time. Furthermore for the master key to not work, this would not seem to be a normal jam, especially when a locksmith needed to be called in.

3. So please clarify how the jury, with such information about the jammed lock, did not conclude or even consider that this unknown cause of death might have involved some human intentional contribution. It would seem the jury did not consider this because you never made any mention of this important fact in with your other comments on the trial.

4. And why didn't you include this jammed lock information FROM the court hearing along with all your other court hearing details?

Thanks much.

Y. Bravda


Emily Krone replies:

There was no evidence that the lock had been deliberately jammed--many of the locks in the dorm were faulty, and the school was in the process of replacing them. The fact that the door was locked from the inside also didn't prove anything; it was a thumb-hold lock, so Pieter could have locked himself in, or someone else could have set the lock, then left the room. There was no evidence suggesting the latter.

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